Q. So this is the first step along the route to Lotus the car maker becoming fully fledged into F1?
DB: Yes, definitely. Otherwise we would not have chosen F1 as our platform. I don't think it makes sense to enter just for two years with the sticker on the car without having a long-term plan for it and without having a heavy involvement. And having involvement is something that we are trying to maximize as much as possible from day one by setting up a group of engineers that are working in Enstone [UK] and trying to get technology transfer from F1 into our new road cars.
This is all we can do in the short term, but it is a long-term plan and the time will come when we will be in charge of doing the things the way Lotus was always doing.
Q. It has been said that Lotus' long-term plans include building an F1 engine. Can you set out a time frame for that?
DB: I think this is a very long way from us. However, we have plans under way to think about our own engine family in our road car programs for the future. The fact that we have announced that we will be developing an engine for IndyCar for 2012 shows you already that we are heavily interested in becoming an engine manufacturer with our own brand. We have the capacity. We built and design engines for other OEMs, so there is no reason why we cannot design and build engines for ourselves.
I believe on the road car side that the engine is the heart of any sports car and it is not far away from thinking for us that it would be the right decision to build our own engine for the future sports cars, and once you have done that, and you can maybe apply the technology on the client racing side, with GT4, GT2, where the base technology should derive from, it is the next logical step that all those activities will have the Lotus engine potentially as well.
So then it is the same with any other motor racing activity. Once you commit to motor racing, you have to go all the way up. I don't want to rule this out – but this is way ahead of us and not an issue at the moment.
Q. You have said you want to be the Porsche of Great Britain rather than a new Ferrari. Can you talk a little about that?
DB: No, this should not sound like Ferrari or any other company. I just think that it is realistic thinking if we decide to build a sports car in a certain segment. It is also a benefit for the customer that you have your own engine in there, and you have your specific characteristics and dynamics. The engine should be relative to the car you offer, so it should be in sync. If you have an engine that comes from somewhere else, you can modify heavily but the base is the base.
With Toyota, where we enjoy a fantastic relationship, they do not manufacture engines from scratch for us. They obviously take a base of a mass volume product and we modify it heavily, so you will never be able to get to the results you need for a sports car. So, I just think that this is a first step in having a complete own product - a sportscar with an own engine. And then the rest is a logical consequence.
If you have a sports car – an Esprit for example – you would want to participate in the GT2 series and the base engine has to be from the road car series anyway. So this is your own engine there, and LMP2 as well. And the decision that is needed to be made is whether you go one step further and say we commit ourselves to become a race engine manufacturer, which is another world as well. That would actually fit into our plans, but at the moment that is not the case at all.